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Peru focusing on continuing upward trend in TRC, sectionals

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SPEED KING: Peru junior Josh Adejokun was one of the primary sparks of the Tiger 2017 season and will look to take the top spot in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes in the 2018 season.
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NEW HURDLES: Peru junior Tori Forrest (C) was a major component of the Tiger boys’ track teamin 2017 and will have to find ways to help a larger but untested squad to even greater heights in the 2018 track season.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

In its first two years in the boys’ TRC track and field meet, Peru has been near the top of the leaderboard each time, going from third in 2016 to second in 2017.

Getting to the top spot will require some new faces to step up into the spotlight as the Tigers look to build off last year’s runner-up finish.

Leading the Peru boys will be Adam Zwiebel, who moves up into the head coaching spot after being the throws coach for the past few seasons.

Zwiebel said the job came with a more inclusive look at the team, rather than a more narrow focus on the Tiger throwers.

“The biggest difference is that instead of just getting to work with the throwers, I get to work with all of our male athletes,” Zwiebel said. “It’s been interesting.”

Last year’s TRC runner-up finish and third-place sectional finish were keyed primarily by three individuals.

Graduated senior Jonah Lester advanced to the state finals in the long jump and high jump, winning both competitions at the TRC and sectional.

Lester also won the 400-meter dash at both events while finishing second in the TRC and third at the sectional in the 200-meter dash.

Running alongside him was Josh Adejokun, who won the 100-meter dash at the TRC and was second at the sectional, finished fourth in the TRC and fifth in the sectional in the 200-meter dash and helped the 400-meter relay team to third-place finishes at both events.

Tori Forrest also was a part of the 400-meter relay team and was the winner in the 300-meter hurdles at both the TRC and sectional.

Forrest finished the 110-meter hurdles in second at the TRC and fourth at the sectional while helping the 1600-meter relay team to a third-place finish at the conference meet and fourth-place finish at the sectional.

The trio represented a large chunk of the team scoring for Peru and with Lester gone Zwiebel said several others had to step up in his stead.

“Losing Jonah is going to be hard to replace but we have to have the next man step up,” Zwiebel said. “Josh is doing a good job early this year.

“Tori is also doing a good job for us and is trying to step up and be a leader for this team. We have other guys doing the same thing, guys like Darien Cleaver, who want to help.

“We have a lot of young kids on our track team and only three seniors out of 38 team members,” Zwiebel added. “We’re a young squad but one that’s talented and we need some guys to grow into roles a little bit faster than they may want to.”

Early season practices were focused on finding out where the younger members of the team fit in as Zwiebel said field events were going to be a priority throughout the year.

“We can see improvements in the way guys are working,” Zwiebel noted. “We do need to score more points in the throws and in the other field events this year.

“Luke Voirol is a kid that wants to step up and be someone who scores points for us. We’ve also got new blood out there and we need to find ways for those guys to help us score in every event.

“Our relays look good and our distance running looks good, so we need some of the younger guys to help out in those field events,” Zwiebel added. “It may take some time but those guys are coming.”

Several new farces were already showing promise according to Zwiebel while some of the returning squad members were providing a boost to the team.

“Braxton Jiminez is a freshman who is showing promise in the 400,” Zwiebel said. “Adam Garner is the leader of our distance squad while Ryan Smith, who is new to track, is out there some days pushing Adam, who is one of our best runners.

“Seeing guys like that step up is important. Hunter Cox is one of our seniors and PRd at the long jump at the IWU meet, one of several guys showing huge improvement.”

Reaching the top spot in the TRC was something Zwiebel expected the team to aim for but added it would take the more experienced members of the squad to guide the group through the season until everyone was ready to contribute at the big meets this year.

“Our team is going to have to grow and a lot of that growth depends on our leadership,” Zwiebel said. “If our leadership is where it needs to be, we set PRs on a meet-by-meet basis and don’t peak too early, that will put is in a really good spot.

“We don’t want to plateau. We want to keep progressing all the way until the end of the season.”